Berlin Food & Drinks

Shaken, not stired

Cocktails today are taste sensations that are made to fit your mood – and will put you in the mood for more.

Bartender Atalay Aktas mixes cocktails at his bar Schwarze Traube in Berlin without a menu. He just asks his guests what they feel like.


Rose-Mari and lemon thyme. Agave nectar. A pinch of black pepper, six fresh raspberries. What sounds like the ingredients for a delicious dessert are actually cocktail components, carefully shaken or stirred, at a bar in Berlin Kreuzberg. Its name: Schwarze Traube. And Atalay Aktas is the creator of these works of art, which have as much in common with the piña coladas of yesteryear as fried potatoes do with a soufflé. The 36- year-old has run the speakeasy Schwarze Traube since the middle of 2012. »Speakeasies
« were illicit establishments in the United States serving beer and liquor during the Prohibition era from 1919 to 1933.


While Schwarze Traube isn’t illegal, it is a bit unusual. Atalay Aktas and his partner Yalcin Celik came up with a menu-less concept where the bartenders ask the guests what they feel like and what sorts of tastes they prefer – and then mix up a customised drink for them. Aktas does his job so well that he was chosen Germany’s Best Barkeeper in 2013 and even made it to the finals for the World’s Best Bartender. He didn’t win, but no matter!


His urge to stand behind the bar and tell stories to his guests remains unbroken. It’s always been like that; even as a child he was always mixing things together and trying things out. »At one time, I even drank some washing-up liquid. My mother was constantly taking me to the doctor.« Well, with a story like that, you can only grow up to become a very special bartender. One who can spontaneously mix together drinks to satisfy any taste.



  1. Mash all the ingredients in a shaker
  2. Double strain into a tumbler with one large ice cube
  3. Garnish with cracked black pepper


HAVE A DRINK | Schwarze Traube
STAY | Vienna House Easy Berlin oder Vienna House Andel’s Berlin



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